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Judge says Box Elder man who torched his mobile home should stay in state mental hospital

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RAPID CITY, South Dakota — A judge has ruled that a Box Elder man who torched his torched his mobile home while two others were inside in 2012 must stay committed at a state mental hospital for now.

Seventh Circuit Judge Janine Kern on Friday ruled that while 30-year-old Joseph Hodges has made progress since being committed, his attorney didn't prove he should be released yet.

A staff psychiatrist at the Human Services Center in Yankton recommended Hodges be released in his uncle's custody.

Authorities say Hodges dripped gasoline down a hallway October 25, 2012 before lighting a fire while his girlfriend and her ex-husband were still in the mobile home. There were no injuries.

Hodges' uncle and staff from Behavior Management Systems in Rapid City will testify next month on behalf of Hodges' release.

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